The Toyota Starlet has entered its second generation following the success of the first generation when it comes to sales.

Launched recently, the new Toyota Starlet joins the market segment with a host of new safety features, fresh looks as well as interesting specifications to make it stand out in the subcompact fold. Since its launch in 2020, a good number of units have found homes across South Africa making it one of the most desired subcompact cars out there.

Toyota Starlet Side View

Specifications

The new Starlet joins the segment in three trim levels; Xi, Xs and top-of-the-range Xr. All the trim levels can be had either with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.

Depending on the variant, the new Toyota Starlet comes with LED headlights, unified sleek chrome and prominent lower air dam and wide-mounted fog lights. There are body-coloured side-view mirrors with built-in turn signal lamps as well as a blacked-out A-pillar and a sporty roof spoiler.

Toyota Starlet Rearview Taillights

The aft view features stylish two-piece rear light clusters and a broad, chrome tailgate garnish that completes the sporty profile.

All new models of the Toyota Starlet now feature a 23 cm touchscreen audio system with USB, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto interface, as well as two rear USB chargers by default. There is automatic climate control, power-retractable mirrors, electric windows and a Multi-Information Display as standard.

The range-topping Xr gets a smart entry, push start, cruise control, reverse camera, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and two tweeter speakers making them a total of six. The multi-information display is upgraded to the colour TFT type and boasts a variety of telemetry-themed screens including a g-sensor and power/torque monitor.

Toyota Starlet Interior

Space

As for the space, the new Toyota Starlet boasts an improved thigh and shoulder support, 60:40 split seatback as well as a boot that measures 314 litres. It can be further expanded by folding the rear seats to a generous 1,057 litres, the same as the Baleno.

Toyota Starlet Rearview Black

Engine and Transmission

Powering the new Toyota Starlet is a bigger 1.5-litre K15B engine that also powers the Urban Cruiser which replaces the outgoing 1,4-litre unit.

The new engine makes 77 kW and 138 Nm of torque sent to the front axle either via a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic gearbox.

Fuel Economy  and Performance

Speaking of performance, the new Starlet hurtles from 0-100 km/h in 11.2 seconds en route to a top speed of 175 km/h.

It averages between 5.4l/100km and 5.7l/100km while CO2 emissions check-in at 127 to 133 g/km.

Safety

On the safety side, the new Starlet adds rear parking sensors, Hill Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Control, ABS and EBD across the board. There are driver and passenger airbags with the Xr grade featuring Side and Curtain Airbags. ISOFIX anchor points are standard across the range.

Toyota Starlet Action Shot Frontview RED

Pricing and Warranty

The new Starlet in Xi trims with a manual transmission cost R226,200, R239,100 for the Xs equipped with the same gearbox.

The Xs with an automatic gearbox is priced at R261,100 while the Xr manual is R294,900. The range-topping Xr automatic is slapped with an R313,300 price tag.

All Starlet models are sold with a complimentary 3-services/45 000 km service plan – with 15 000 km service intervals. A 3-year/100 000 km warranty is also provided.

Customers can additionally purchase the service plan and warranty extensions from their local Toyota dealer.

Toyota Starlet Still image Front and Sideview RED

Verdict

The new Toyota Starlet makes a name for itself as a buyable option in the subcompact segment. If affordability, space and modern styling remain on top of the list of things you are looking for in a car, the Starlet is great.

What We Like: Superb quality, well-refined, specced and fuel-efficient

What We Don’t Like: Only a sole engine option